Journalism — Presidential Campaign Coverage No Different Than Sports Talk Shows

By the time many people read this the Presidential election will be history.

The following observation has nothing to do with one candidate or the other.
No, I have not hop-skipped and jumped from sports to politics but I have noticed some similarities, sometimes laughable, between the two.

Also, I have a strong feeling about the profession I eagerly entered into when I was a youngster and followed that path through college and beyond. A feeling that is anything but laughable.

This year’s Presidential campaign has been dominated by hourly coverage that is no different than talk shows on sports airwaves. The same speculation, questions, and back-and-forth about sizing up how NFL teams are doing, are exactly the same speculation, questions and back-and-forth that sized up Clinton and Trump.

Maybe that’s fascinating for listeners and viewers who thrived on the minute-by-minute trend of taking the temperature of the candidates prospects, but to me it’s been simply a matter of shows filling time. Hour after hour, the same subject is discussed by the same people interviewing each other just as in the sports world the same topics about teams are run into the ground.
Is there a better way? I don’t know. But I do know that people who listen and watch hear the same things drilled into their heads all day.

Then there are the comical questions dealing with predictions. Who will win?
Guess what? You don’t need to be an expert to correctly predict the winner. Anyone can be right. What is totally the case is that no one really knows. No one.
I always say when asked who I think will win a game is “that’s why they play the game”.
Who will win the election? Well, that’s why we have an election.
What  happened last year, four years ago, eight years ago have little or no meaning to what WILL happen on the day of decision.
Sure, you can guess. But that’s all it is. A guess. Maybe it’s an educated guess, but that’s all it is.

I saw the same thing in this campaign that I see in sports. I’m not saying many folks don’t want this practice. I’m just saying it’s a matter of spinning your wheels.

Finally, a word about the profession of journalism. It’s what I respected at an early age and attended Syracuse University to study journalism, newspaper reporting. That was before broadcasting came into my life. Make no mistake, my broadcasting career has been all about journalism.
But once upon a time, there was a separation between reporting and editorializing. That’s why there is an editorial or op-ed page in daily newspapers.
This campaign has seen editorializing instead of simple reporting.
No-holds-barred opinions have clouded stories which should be based on facts alone.
Whoever you supported in this election, is not the point.
Journalism took a giant step back. It’s been appalling.